NewFest, New York's LGBT Film Festival, Announces 2016 Audience Award Winners

NewFest, New York's LGBT Film Festival, Announces 2016 Audience Award WinnersThe 2016 NewFest, New York's LGBT Film Festival, concluded its 28th anniversary year with a sold-out screening of So Yong Kim's LOVESONG starring Riley Keough and Jena Malone. The six-day festival screened over 100 films to sold-out audiences and included such varied events as a legacy centerpiece screening of the 1919 landmark LGBT film DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHERS in a new 35mm restoration, a screening of SCRUM followed by a discussion of LGBT inclusivity in sports, and a star-studded Opening Night including the East Coast Premiere of THE PASS starring Russell Tovey, and Tituss Burgess being presented NewFest's inaugural Voice & Visibility Award by Debra Messing.

Following the Closing Night Gala screening, NewFest announced the 2016 Audience Award winning films:

SUICIDE KALE, directed by Carly Usdin, won the Audience Award for Outstanding Feature Film.

Also the winner of the Audience Award for Best First Feature at Outfest, SUICIDE KALE is a darkly comic farce about two lesbian couples doing their best to navigate a social landmine during an awkward lunch together. When new partners Jasmine and Penn find an anonymous suicide note in their friends' bedroom, they hatch a plan to figure out who wrote it. The talented, diverse cast has a knack for comic timing, managing to keep things light and hilarious even as both couples discover way more than they bargained for.

POLITICAL ANIMALS, directed by Jonah Markowitz and Tracy Wares, won the Audience Award for Outstanding Documentary Feature.

Also the winner of Grand Jury and Audience Awards at LA Film Festival, this unflinchingly honest and expansive documentary looks into the early days of the advocacy that paved the way for the LGBTQ rights victories of today. After introducing an anti-bullying bill aimed to protect LGBTQ schoolchildren, California State Representative Sheila Kuehl had to endure grandstanding speeches comparing homosexuals to pedophiles. It was in such a hostile environment that she and fellow out representatives Christine Kehoe, Jackie Goldberg, and Carole Migden passed California's first LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws. Brilliantly framing the decades-long struggle within archival clips of recent progress, when President Obama announced that "love is love," alongside the groundbreaking work of often-unacknowledged heroes, POLITICAL ANIMALS offers first-hand evidence why there must be LGBTQ representation in elected office.

SIGN, directed by Andrew Keenan-Bolger, won the Audience Award for Outstanding Narrative Short.

Through vignettes, music, and sign language, the story of a relationship between Ben, a hearing man, and Aaron, who is deaf, unfolds.

SHAPE UP: GAY IN THE BLACK BARBERSHOP, directed by Derrick L. Middleton, won the Audience Award for Outstanding Documentary Short.

Derrick L. Middleton takes a critical look at New York black barbershop culture, usually thought of as a safe, familial gathering place, and how young queer men are treated there.

About NewFest Founded in 1988, NewFest: New York's Film and Media Arts Organization presents year-round screenings and events, including the annual New York LGBT Film Festival. NewFest's mission is to give voice and visibility to the full scope of New York's LGBT community through films and programs that entertain, educate, and empower. In bringing diverse audiences and filmmakers together, NewFest creates spaces and conversations that have the capacity to open minds, shift cultural bias, and create positive change. NewFest is dedicated to bringing together filmmakers and audiences to build a community that encompasses the wide range of representations of the LGBT experience. We are committed to nurturing and presenting LGBT stories and emerging filmmakers. For more information, visit

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